Auctioneer victorious at Prairie championship

Jesse Campbell secured the top spot after facing off against 13 other auctioneers from Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Brandon auctioneer Jesse Campbell has added another accolade to his career, winning the Man-Sask Livestock Auctioneering Championship in Killarney last month.

Campbell, who works for Fraser Auction Ltd. in the Wheat City, secured the top spot and a $1,000 prize at the April 15 event, where he faced off against 13 other auctioneers from Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Campbell and his family owned the Killarney location of Fraser Auction from 2007 to 2015, so he was on home turf when he claimed his win. And while he has won competitions for auctioneering before, this was his first big collar, he said.

“I have been able to grab a few awards here and there,” Campbell said. “But I haven’t actually been crowned the champion of a full competition before. That was kind of cool.”

The 24-year-old got his auction licence when he was 19. His parents, both auctioneers, bought their business in 2001. Campbell’s father is a celebrated auctioneer in his own right, with a wall full of buckles and awards to prove it.

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“I’ve been able to followup on that. It’s been around my whole life,” Campbell said.

But it wasn’t just being born into a family tradition that set Campbell up on the right path to becoming a successful auctioneer. He credits a two-week course he took in High River, Alta., in 2017, at the Global College of Auctioneering, which prepared him with a lot of knowledge to build his future experience on.

While some say auctioneering is a gift rather than something that can be learned, Campbell said he’s not sold on that idea.

“I don’t think there’s very many things that people can’t do,” he said. “People learn and try new things all the time.”

While he finds the entire agriculture industry captivating, being an auctioneer has been a fascinating career path for him. With his family business, he has travelled all over Canada. The best part of it, Campbell said, is meeting new people.

“We pride ourselves on our customer service and helping people,” he said. “There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it.”

When it comes to selling off farm items and lots of land, it can be an emotional experience for clients. Being able to offer professional service and support is a good experience for Campbell and for his clients, and that’s a responsibility he feels happy to take on, he said.

“Sometimes, there’s been three, four or more generations farming on that land, so we’re not only selling that family’s farm, but the generations before.”

Campbell is inspired by how many other young people he sees forging paths in the agriculture industry, whether it be in farming, ranching, agribusiness or otherwise. Though there are fewer young people than he’d like to see, there is a steady number of youth who are trying to make a name for themselves and a reliable living for their families.

In the auctioneering world, however, things aren’t moving quite as swiftly, Campbell said. Too few rookie auctioneers have been entering the field in Manitoba, although numbers look healthier in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

It’s a reflection on the entire industry itself, Campbell said.

“The whole auction world has been fading out. There’s less and less guys doing it, less and less sales and that kind of thing for people to do.”

Campbell’s advice for anyone who is interested in becoming an auctioneer is not to be put off by the fast-paced, high-pressure environment.

“Don’t be scared. If it’s something you want to get into, do it.”

With so few people left in the industry, opportunities abound, Campbell added.

“There’s a few guys that are going to close the door on your face, but just go knock on another one, because there’s somebody that’s willing to give you a hand and help you get started,” he said.

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Although it is tough to get your foot in the door, working in auctioneering can be a very satisfying career, Campbell said.

When it comes to his own future, the young auctioneer said he’s looking forward to working with his family and attending more competitions.

Campbell will head to Olds, Atla., where he will compete in the Livestock Marketing Association Championships from May 11-14.

Then in July, Campbell will be at the Calgary Stampede’s international competition, with auctioneers flying in from as far as Australia.

“That’s going to be a lot of fun. A lot of times you just go there to try to learn something and listen to the other guys,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”

This story was originally published in The Brandon SunIt is republished under a Creative Commons license as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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